From 1 February 2018, medicines containing codeine are no longer be available without a prescription. As an alternative to prescribing codeine, the Royal Australian College of General Practitioners has encouraged GPs to refer patients to physiotherapists.
Physiotherapy has been identified as an excellent alternative to long term pain relief. Providing satinets with evidence based care that educed pain and improves their function. Physios are prepared to discuss the changes with patients who may desire, but can no longer access, these medicines.
Why did access to low-dose codeine-containing medicines change?
The Australian Government is committed to delivering the best health outcomes for Australians through the appropriate regulation of medicines that are deemed by medical experts to have particular risks. This includes low dose codeine-containing medicines.
The evidence shows that medicines containing low-dose codeine combined with paracetamol or nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) such as ibuprofen or aspirin, are generally no more effective than other non-codeine medicines.
The use of low-dose codeine-containing medicines is associated with high health risks. Codeine is an opioid drug closely related to morphine and, like morphine, is also derived from opium poppies. Codeine, like morphine and other opioids, can cause opioid tolerance, dependence, toxicity and in higher doses, death.
Regular use of medicines containing codeine, for example for chronic pain, has led to some consumers becoming addicted to codeine without realising it. The risks associated with codeine use are too high without oversight from a doctor.
There are a number of useful resources available for patients who have been affected by these changes.
Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA): The TGA’s codeine information hub includes a suite of factsheets, frequently asked questions and useful links for health professionals and consumers.
NPS MedicineWise: Offers consumer factsheets for non-English speakers, patient stories, videos and podcasts.
painHEALTH: Provides consumers living with musculoskeletal pain useful evidence-informed information and skills to assist in the management of their pain.
eCentre Clinic Pain Course: A free online pain management program designed to provide information about chronic pain and teach practical skills for managing the impact of pain on day-to-day activities and emotional wellbeing.
Helping patients make informed decisions: A two-hour course on shared decision making, developed by the Australian Commission on Safety and Quality in Health Care.
Understanding pain in less than 5 minutes: A short video to help patients understand chronic pain.
If you are having trouble managing pain, then making an appointment with a SquareOne Physio is one step closer to understanding your issue and starting down the road to recovery. Call today on 9968 3424 or book online www.squareonephysio.com.au